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8 Conversation Starters to Discuss Your Porn Addiction with Your Spouse

Last Updated: November 11, 2019

Jen Ferguson
Jen Ferguson

Jen Ferguson is a wife, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping couples thrive in their marriages. She and her husband, Craig, have shared their own hard story in their book, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography. They continue to help couples along in their journeys to freedom and intimacy. She’s also a mama to two girls and two high-maintenance dogs, which is probably why she runs. A lot. Even in the Texas heat.

Your journey to freedom from pornography most likely didn’t take only one conversation, one moment of healing, or one act of repentance. Instead, it’s been made up (or will be made up) of many rounds of discussion, many layers of healing, and a multitude of confessions because bad habits are hard to break. Satan loves to keep entangling us and entrapping us with sins with addictive properties.

(First time confessing your porn addiction to your spouse? Read this article first.)

Your spouse’s journey to healing will also take time, intention, and your willingness to talk with her or him as you both journey through this. One of the best things Craig did for me as I healed was to allow me to ask any question at any moment regarding his addiction. But it was also incredibly meaningful to me when he didn’t wait for me to start a conversation. Why? Because it showed me that he was working on the issues, thinking about his struggles and questions, without my prodding and poking and reminding. It reminded me that he didn’t need me to be in charge.

It can be difficult, though, to jump into a conversation about porn. Though it’s old hat for us now, in the beginning, it felt awkward. Sometimes, it would be easy for one or both of us to become defensive. We often stumbled through, saying what we thought we should say instead of what was really on our hearts. And, of course, there were those times when we said exactly what we were feeling without a filter. But here’s the good news, even though Craig and I didn’t always communicate perfectly about his porn addiction (and my controlling nature), we still communicated. And this, my friends, is key.

Pornography addiction breeds in isolation. Shame multiplies in the dark. Conversation, however, has the power to bring things into the light. And most importantly, conversation has the power to bring connectivity. As this video clearly states, the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety. It’s connection.

Here are eight conversation starters, categorized by the purpose of the conversation, you can use to help you and your spouse increase connection, decrease shame, and keep you both on the road to healing.

Conversations that Uncover the Cause of Addiction

It may take awhile for your spouse to truly internalize that he or she is not the cause of your addiction. Even when your marriage is rocky, your spouse is never responsible for your sin, and vice versa. When you talk with her and explore the cause(s) of your addiction, you affirm to her that she is not one of them. Conversing about this also helps you uncover different roots and identify triggers that compel you to go back to the bad habits you want to break. Chances are your spouse also has places in her heart where God wants to set her free. Remember, God wastes nothing, and often when one spouse is in the refining process, it provides a fabulous opportunity for God to do a meaningful work in the other spouse as well.

How do you broach this subject? Try some of these starter ideas:

  • “I’ve found that I normally turn to porn when I feel __________, but I realize porn hasn’t been effective because __________________. Instead of turning to porn, I want to ___________________. Do you ever struggle with turning to something other than God first?”
  • “I’ve used porn to hide from my emotions and to not deal with certain aspects of my past/life/fears. I’ve been afraid to deal with them because __________________________. I’ve decided to stop hiding and instead, I will _____________________________. Could you be a sounding board for me when I need to talk about my past/life/fears so we can build connection? I’d love to do the same for you.”

Conversations that Show Understanding

Porn addiction wreaks havoc on your marriage and for your spouse to know that you see this and are working to repair the damage is incredibly healing. These conversations promote self-reflection, active listening, and the ability to empathize with each other. Here are some ways you can show understanding:

  • “I realize that when I engage in pornography, I am acting selfishly and I am not loving myself or you well. I am learning that just as Jesus’ love for me required sacrifice, I also need to love sacrificially. What does it look like for me to love you sacrificially? I’ve seen you love me sacrificially when you ___________________.”
  • “I understand that by turning to porn, I’ve hurt you deeply. I want to ask your forgiveness for _______________. Is there anything else for which I need to ask your forgiveness? I understand I may not receive it right away, but I want you to know that I am deeply sorry.”

Conversations that Show Commitment

It takes time to rebuild the broken trust. One of the ways you can help this process is by investing your energy into the marriage. It’s helpful to remind your wife that you choose her, you love her, and you are committed to her and the health of your relationship. Just as you would like her to see your growth, it’s important for you to pay attention to how she is growing as well.

  • “I’ve realized how important prayer is in my battle to overcome pornography. Could we start praying together? I’d love for us to pray for each other on a regular basis. How do you feel about that?”
  •  “I’ve really noticed how you’ve _____________________. Thank you so much for _________________. I’m so glad I have you in my life.”
  •  “I feel like I’ve had a breakthrough in my addiction because ______________________. I wanted to share that with you and check in with you about how you’re doing, too.”

Related: Life After Porn–5 Things My Husband Did to Rebuild Trust

It’s not necessary to memorize these conversation starters. If you understand the general premise, you’ll do great. The key here is to move towards authenticity and to be vulnerable with your spouse. Keep in mind timing, pray before, during and after your conversation, and allow the Holy Spirit to move in your conversation. God is for you, your spouse, and your marriage. He is for intimacy and connection, and He promises to be with you on this journey.

  • Comments on: 8 Conversation Starters to Discuss Your Porn Addiction with Your Spouse
    1. James David Carter on

      I am a Christian counselor who is working with pornography addicted persons and decided to call their attention to your source of help.

      Reply
      • Carl Sowell on

        I am just a guilty person who has fallen into the trap of porn. I have fought this battle all my life. I will be ok for 3- 1&1/2 then I give in. I don’t understand why I am afflicted with this but it’s up to me to beat this
        But I have found out that I cannot beat this on my own. I know that if I pray for help God is with me. But I end up letting satan pry into my life and again , I fail. I have hurt my wife so bad over the 33 years of marriage. At first we would watch an adult movie together but then it got way out of control. I have destroyed something so awesome as my marriage over stupid crap such as porn. Why does it have such a grip on my senses? I am tired of hurting her and need to make major changes in my life. She has doubts about me but I am putting 100 per cent effort into this. Please keep me in your prayers.

      • Moriah Bowman on

        Hi Carl!

        I am praying for you! Be encouraged by Romans 5:3-5, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

        Porn is NOT easy to overcome. There will be times when you feel like a failure, but remember that hope is found in Christ and Christ alone. Do you have an Ally whom you can turn to for accountability and prayer? Many struggling in porn addiction have found this to be an essential part of their recovery.

        Keep fighting!
        Moriah

    2. OCAYA WILBERT on

      This is a good stuff!We in Africa are always at the receiving end of everything.God help us in these devastating effects of pornography.

      Reply

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